Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Series: Jay's Hunger Strike for Darfur, Part 2

Yesterday we focused on the condition of living in Darfur, Sudan. You will find that interview here. It is highly recommended reading to understand the purpose for this interview.

We covered three questions yesterday, as we will do today. These will be questions 4, 5, and 6. Mr. Jay McGinley was kind enough to answer many questions. I have grouped them into categories for such a series as this. His story is quite impressive, compelling, devastating, and long over due.

The questions will be in bold type, while the answers will be in normal type. Here we go...

Again, hello Mr. McGinley. Are you ready to continue? Yes, I am. Thank you.

4. Would you like to tell us why you are on a hunger strike for the people of Darfur, Sudan?
I reject the notion that we have no responsibility for our brothers and sisters, no matter their location or the color of their skin. Just as in the parable of the Good Samaritan, who is my neighbor? Those who live next door to me? Should I treat those who do not live next door by a different standard?

I am a desciple of Jesus. He was explicit. Love your neighbor as yourself. Do unto others all that you would have them do unto you. As you do unto the least of these, My family, you do unto Me. This is in my heart. People in Darfur are my family. For those who do not have faith or have a different faith, it is the Golden Rule.

When your family is in jeapordy, you do all you can to find a solution. All parties involved are calling for: "20,000 to 30,000 UN Peacekeeping Troops on the ground with a Chaper 7 mandate" (empowered to use force) to protect and make these people's land safe again for living and farming.

You do all you can to make your fellow citizens aware of the problem and get them involved in solving it. I want a mandate from our administration. Many, many people do. One that demands that Congress and the White House will apply all pressure necessary on Sudan's President el Bashir. He must be pressured into allowing the peacekeepers and aid workers in, unmolested, to do their jobs.

According to Samantha Power's Pulitzer prize winning analysis of the last 100 years of genocide (Problem from Hell), the battle to stop genocide has always been lost on the field of public opinion in the US. We have the power, but we as a citizenry have never raised the will. We have never found the courage to step out of our comfort zone and registered our mandate with our elected officials.

So what can you do? You set about to raise the courage among your fellow citizens.

I believe in nonviolent warfare in general, and certainly in the struggle to raise courage among "we the people."

In all of the important such struggles in this country - Civil Rights, Womens' Suffrage, Anti-Apartheid - a small group of people have stood up with tremendous courage, giving an example to millions who then stood up with them. This substantial courage unmistakably forced the tides of change. They stated their mandate to the elected officials, and they were heard.

I am calling for an all out nonviolent campaign, here in the US, to raise the mandate that I know our elected officials want to see. I believe some of us need to pay a personal price. I am leading by example. That is why I am on Hunger strike.

5. What do you hope to accomplish? When will you feel you haveachieved your goal?
As Gandhi said, "Full effort is full victory." Our Heavenly Father is not going to ask me if I stopped the Genocide. What He will ask me is whether I did everything in my power to try to stop it. This is what I hope to achieve: "...doing all that I would have them do unto me.

I want to raise awareness so that others will have a similar level of commitment and sacrifice. That would spark hundreds of thousands to register their mandate through nonviolence but unmistakeable personal sacrifice, so the administration would have the mandate they need to push forward.

Specifically I want to see that which will be the catalyst to raise our will - 20 to 500 of us will gather in August at the White House for either a mass hunger strike or a rolling one. It is possible there may be nonviolent arrests, but these will instill in our brothers and sisters around the country the urgency of the situation and the courage to stand up for Darfur.

The Save Darfur Coalition is planning to meet in NYC on September 17, 2006. With this August's action, we can deliver to the rally 100,000 to 300,000 people that have sufficient courage to undertake whatever remaining nonviolent civil disobedience is necessary so that the 20-30,000 UN Peacekeepers needed by our Darfur family are deployed to Darfor without further delay.

6. How many days have been on this hunger strike?
Today is day 91 of the round the clock vigil for Darfur at the White House. Today is Day 40 of the Hunger strike. I intend to go through Day 60 on Hunger Strike. This will put me in extreme harms way. This is where a soldier fighting for his brothers and sisters belongs. But I have a good chance of surviving, and a good soldier is neither reckless or suicidal. I am neither.

Editor's Note: I disagree with Jay's position that it does not matter what we accomplish as long as our intentions are good, but he is a fine man with a great big heart. I'm sure I misunderstood. After all, I don't see anyone else out there making their point of view known about the genocide in Darfur!

This is a very intriguing interview. Tomorrow we will discuss the press and the awareness of the American public. You will be amazed by some of his answers. Stay tuned...